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Brief Funct Genomics. 2010 May;9(3):208-19. doi: 10.1093/bfgp/elq004.

Advances in porcine genomics and proteomics--a toolbox for developing the pig as a model organism for molecular biomedical research.

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Department of Animal Health and Biosciences, Arhus University, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark.


Our current knowledge of human biology is often based on studying a wide range of animal species. In particular, for understanding human diseases, the development of adequate animal models is of immediate importance. Although genetic strains and transgenic animal model organisms like fruit fly (Drosophila), zebrafish and rodents are highly informative about the function of single genes and proteins, these organisms do not always closely reflect human biology, and alternative animal models are thus in great demand. The pig is a non-primate mammal that closely resembles man in anatomy, physiology and genetics. Pigs, although not easily kept for laboratory research, are, however, readily available for biomedical research through the large scale industrial production of pigs produced for human consumption. Recent research has facilitated the biological experimentation with pigs, and helped develop the pig into a novel model organism for biomedical research. This toolbox includes the near completion of the pig genome, catalogues of genes and genetic variation in pigs, extensive characterization of pig proteomes and transcriptomes, as well as the development of transgenic disease models. The aim of this review is to highlight the current progress of these ongoing areas of research, which are mandatory for successful development of biomedical pig models that are in demand for understanding human biology in health and disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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